South Carolina state representative Brian White is one of the most powerful lawmakers in the Palmetto State. Has been for years. As chairman of the S.C. House ways and means committee, he gets the first crack at crafting a state budget each year. Also, his committee is the originating point of all tax reform in South Carolina.
Beyond that, White sits on numerous influential state boards – and is responsible for appointing people to dozens more.
That’s a lot of juice, people.
Has White used his vast power and influence for the good of South Carolina citizens and taxpayers? Hell no …
Like many so-called “Republicans” in Columbia, S.C., he is addicted to big government.
He loves taxing, borrowing and spending on bureaucracies that consistently produce abysmal outcomes – economically, fiscally, educationally and with regards to infrastructure, public safety and other core functions of government.
Along with uber-liberal “Republican” Senate president Hugh Leatherman, White is one of the chief architect’s of South Carolina’s “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” approach to state government – which continues to escalate taxpayer obligations as performance deteriorates.
How does he stay in power? Easy … he controls the purse strings.
Oh, and he’s surrounded by numerous like-minded legislators who subscribe to the same (big) governing philosophy.
This coming year, though, White will find himself involved in a pair of pitched battles. In one of them, he is on the defensive – facing a coordinated coalition of frustrated fiscal and social conservatives in his backyard up in Anderson County, S.C. In the other battle, White is on the offensive – reportedly targeting the small handful of state lawmakers who had the audacity to vote against a massive, constitutionally dubious tax hike earlier this year.
According to our sources, a third front could be opening up soon for White …
This week in Columbia, S.C., lawmakers met to discuss the issue of tax reform. How’d it go?
Well, we’re told …
Lawmakers are studying the state’s current tax code with an eye on identifying areas where South Carolina could be more competitive in terms of its revenue-raising process.
Sound familiar? It should. This conversation has taken place dozens of times in the past, with nothing resembling real reform ever materializing.
As a result, the Palmetto State’s disappointing economic outcomes continue …
Who deserves the blame for that? Since 2003, “Republicans.” Exclusively. And in recent years, White.
In speaking with legislators who attended a tax reform seminar this week, frustration with White was plainly evident. On the record, they put a positive spin on it – telling us they were encouraged by his receptiveness to an overhaul of the state’s antiquated, anti-competitive tax code.
Off the record? Many of them ripped White for failing to lead on the issue.
One lawmaker called his committee “the bottleneck for every good idea we’ve had the last decade.”
Wow … that’s harsh.
We’ll have a post up momentarily detailing some of the ideas currently under discussion, but it’s clear that getting anything resembling broad-based tax reform through White’s committee is going to be exceedingly difficult.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times.: The era of big government in South Carolina – whether under Democratic or “Republican” auspices – has demonstrably failed to expand prosperity and opportunity. The only way to fix that? Empowering the consumer economy, which starts and ends with broad-based tax relief for the middle class families who drive that economy.
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